Pregnancy is generally one of the best times in a woman’s life, despite some general discomfort at the beginning and the end. But some women experience a high-risk pregnancy that comes with heightened discomfort or potential complications. These may range from the risk of premature birth to the danger of uterine rupture. Whatever the diagnosis, women in high-risk pregnancies should follow these six steps to protect themselves and their unborn children.
1. See a high-risk specialist
If you suspect or know that you are in a high-risk pregnancy, consult a highly-skilled obstetrician who can treat your specific needs, says Dr. Gilbert Webb of St. Louis. A specialist can perform the right tests to determine the status of the pregnancy and any risks to be aware of, along with necessary precautions or treatments. Your family doctor might not have the experience or expertise to treat your specific needs.
2. Follow the doctor’s orders
After consulting the specialist, follow orders carefully, including the possibility of vitamins or other medication, bed rest or activity restrictions. Ask the doctor before beginning any new activity or lifestyle change.
3. Report unusual symptoms
Any new or unusual symptoms should be reported to the doctor immediately, even if they do not appear to be serious. These could include, among other things, a skin rash, fever, swelling or unusual dizziness and fatigue. It never hurts to call the doctor’s office with a question.
4. Inform a family member or friend
It is important to inform a spouse, relative or friend about a high-risk pregnancy and possible complications in case something happens to the mother. For example, if she feels faint, the relative or friend should know if and when to call 911 or the doctor’s office in case the mother is unable to communicate her need clearly.
5. Get additional information
Ask the doctor’s office for information about any conditions or diagnoses received. Often, there are pamphlets, books and videos available to help explain pregnancy risks or possible complications. It is best to get information directly from the doctor rather than doing a random Internet search or talking to a friend.
6. Relax and enjoy the pregnancy
Despite concerns and anxiety, try to relax and enjoy these special months as the baby develops. New life is always a time for rejoicing, and most high-risk pregnancies end up with successful deliveries. A positive attitude will reduce stress.
A high-risk pregnancy requires careful attention from both the mother and her doctor. Follow the above steps for a healthy and happy outcome.